Some Hindus believe Siva as the creator of our universe and for some Siva is the creator and the destroyer and restorer, all encapsulated in one. The popular deity of Siva is the Linga , which denotes his formless nature. Among the Lingas, Jyotirlingas have gained special significance which are said be twelve in number located all over India, Srisailam being one of them. The beautiful temple of Srisailam is located on a hill about 120 kms from Hyderabad city. The journey takes you through the hills and their ancient rock formations along the bank of Krishna which lend to the beauty of the region. From atop Srisailam one can also enjoy the distant picturesque view of the hills and the river dam below.
In our last month’s visit to Srisailam , to my surprise I discovered that Srisailam also has a historical significance. Shivaji the great warrior had visited Srisailam to take blessings from the Lord Mallikarjuna (Siva)before going to the battleground. A big campus of Shivaji centre houses a museum where paintings depicting Shivaji’s life story are displayed . In the centre, a statue of Shivaji- the great is installed which is a major draw for the visitors. Next to this building is a meditation hall. A kitchen gives sumptuous day time meal for the lodgers. One can find a wide range of books on eminent figures in a book shop right at the entrance to the campus. Shivaji centre, being situated behind the temple premises, it is easy to reach the temple early in the morning for prayers.
Srisailam temple is an epitome of serenity the beauty and description of which cannot be made in a few pages. Apart from the Linga and the sprawling premises of the temple that has statues of various deities like in any ancient temple, and a multileveled greenery with flowing water carved in a garden around a Siva , what really touched my heart was the love with which cows in the goushala are being taken care. One can go near the cows, touch them and feed them the fodder. A ritual of going between the legs, forth and back, below the udders of a reverential cow for nirvana was again a new knowledge for me.
If one is looking for a place as a getaway for peace and serenity, and to unwind from the busy city life, the holy place of Srisailam is surely a place to consider.